Cords are the worst. When you love technology, you have to tolerate it's relatives (i.e. the cords and the chargers). That's just how relationships work! Our living room is where a lot of laptop, phone, and tablet use happens and is a hub for tangled cords, routers, signal extenders, etc. A solution was needed, since this space is small and anything messy has a big impact.
The living room being small also means our sofa is really stuck between a rock (a wall) and a hard place (a bedroom door). Side tables just felt awkward, so we ditched them and instead use a small garden stool from Homegoods as a handy place to prop feet or set drinks. It just wasn't enough space, though, and I longed for a place to put a lamp and the other little odds and ends that are nice to have within arms reach. It finally dawned on me that a long, skinny table behind the sofa could potentially solve both of my problems.
BTW, I cannot wait to get a new sofa someday. Our current one is comfy enough, but is pretty beat-up and a little outdated with its puffiness. Right now I'm all about working with what I have, though!
A DIY sofa table is by no means a revolutionary idea, as any Pinterest search will show you. I wanted to share our take on it, though. I know before DIYing something I'm always trying to find as many different versions as possible, so I can see how it might look in a space similar to mine or find any little shortcuts or tweaks that would customize it more.
Out of all of the zillions of tutorials out there, I found a few particularly helpful and inspiring. Young House Love's sofa table is beautiful, but too beefy for our space. Jenna Sue Design's sofa table seems like an easy and affordable enough build, but we wanted one with a solid side so you couldn't see all of the cords. Mango and Tomato's sofa table seemed the easiest, but we needed a shelf to set some electronic gear and our landline phone on. Urban Jane's sofa table was the most helpful tutorial, and is what I mostly went with... but without using a board on the back of it as a brace (we wanted our table to lie flush against the wall), without the middle vertical board (ours was short enough it didn't need the extra support), and with a second hidden shelf added using the same hardware used for the top board.
Hopefully that helps you see how customizable this project is, and how easily multiple tutorials can be combined to make something that is juuuuust right for your space.
Supply & Budget Breakdown
- 6' long whiteboard boards from Lowes (3 of them, totaling about $30 with tax).
- Corner brace hardware (2 packages of these ones, about $7 with tax).
- Wood screws (I had some of the right length on hand, but make sure yours aren't so long that they go all the way through the board!).
- Standard household tools (a power drill and rags and a drop cloth for staining).
- 220 grit sandpaper (I splurged on this Pro Grade stuff, so $16 for 20 sheets... I only used 2 sheets I think).
- Wood glue (I have a big bottle of this kind, it's only $6 for a decent-sized bottle and holds well.)
- Dark Walnut Stain (this one from Minwax... a little goes a long way, so this quart has lasted me like 5 projects already).
- Polycrylic finish (I love love love this one from Minwax. I've tried it in various finishes, and the semi-gloss is by far my favorite. It doesn't take a lot of it, and it just works super well.)
Before buying supplies, I carefully measured the length and height of my sofa, to be sure it would end up exactly how long/tall I needed it. I didn't want the table very deep, so kept in mind to find a board narrow enough. It was important it landed at the right height at the back of the sofa, so drinks could easily be set on it.
We are not yet proud owners of a table or miter saw, and so I took the easy and affordable way out and had the very helpful staff at Lowes cut the boards to size. They do a great job, and their saw can get things really really even. I put it together in our living room, drilling pilot holes for the screws after dabbing a little wood glue where the boards would join.
As seen below, it was not very convenient sitting in the middle of our living room. However, the weather in New York does not allow for a lot of hobby activity in garages or outside. Oh well.
After it was all put together, I did drag it out to the garage and wait for a day warm enough to stain and polycrylic it. Luckily, stain isn't as picky as paint and it didn't have to warm up tooo much before I could get the project finished. I did two coats of stain and two coats of polycrylic, carefully sanding and wiping down every inch before staining and in between polycrylic coats.
See how handy it is at hiding all of that stuff?! All those cords used to just sit in the middle of our living room. Okay, maybe not really, but close enough. That shelf does a great job of holding everything, and it's easy enough to pull our sofa out a bit to reach things when needed (which is only once every few weeks). Plus, it's a great place for the cat to hoard all of her toys. #eyeroll
On top of the table we keep a lamp, a few pretty things, some coasters, and a little humidifier/essential oil diffuser. I like this one because its pretty, and it really does make the living room feel a little cozier and smell so nice.
Do you follow tutorials to-a-t, or combine a few to get something exactly like what you need? And do you build it in the middle of your living room? (I'm betting if you live in the Northeast you might...)
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